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Dear Dad,

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

Happy birthday and we miss you very much.

In fact, we miss you so much that the four of us decided to shake things up this year by driving up to Traverse City to celebrate your birthday, mom’s birthday, and Thanksgiving.

the last Thanksgiving we all had together!

Ok that’s not totally true because the decision was also somewhat forced upon us thanks to the current state of the rest of the world (there’s this little thing called “COVID” that would take another whole letter to explain), but we’re the Cipriano-Trahan’s and the Cipriano-Trahan’s have been known to make the best of not best situations.

So we packed our bags (all twenty-seven of them because packing lightly still isn’t one of our family’s strengths) and drove through high-speed winds and torrential downfall to get up to the very large and very vacant Grand Traverse Resort the day before mom’s birthday.

Mom started her actual birthday by saying good morning to a family of 6 muskrats/minks/beavers/creatures (we never figured out which kind they were) who lived in the pond below our balcony, and then she got to spend about an hour trying to order a Thanksgiving dinner from the hotel's front desk. Luckily for her, Isabella was there to help while Sal and Tanner responsibly stayed out of the way by sleeping in.

Sal and his tree!

We then took a walk through downtown Traverse City which appeared to be a ghost town because no stores or restaurants were open and there were very few other people around (thanks to the previously-mentioned COVID thing (that you definitely aren't missing)). As such, Tanner used the empty streets for parkour practice while Sal mostly just hung out with a giant Christmas tree that was blocking one of the streets.

Just as a little sunshine began peeking through the gray clouds, Isabella took us to a beautiful spot on Lake Michigan where her and a friend had gone for a polar bear plunge back in February. Not wanting to be outdone by his baby sister, Sal made a $20 bet with her that he would get into the water at some point during the weekend despite the below freezing temperatures, but he ultimately decided this was not the right time to show off so he said he would wait for a better moment later in the weekend.

picture of the kids that Mom took!

Upon returning to the hotel, we picked up dinner and brought it back to our room. It wasn’t exactly the way we used to celebrate Thanksgiving at the Saginaw Club with the Trahan’s, but in Sal’s words, the food was “good” plus we listened to some Bruce Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac, and Cat Stevens while we ate so we thought you'd still enjoy it.

picture of dinner that Tanner took!

The following day we drove an hour outside of the city to go on what was supposed to be a short 1-mile hike, but that trip turned into a much larger ordeal which included Isabella almost losing her phone, mom befriending the locals who returned the phone, and Sal and Tanner getting stuck on a log in the middle of the woods, so instead of going into more detail, we’ll just include a few pictures from the hike instead:

Now before you go and eat your German-chocolate birthday cake with Grandma and Grandpa and Grandma and Grandpa and everybody else up there with you, we’d like to wrap up by giving you a few quick life updates.

Sal walked the entirety of this year's ninth annual Cipriano Classic and demands that you watch him finish the race in this video:

Isabella is getting ready for college next year and would like you to give one of her application essays a quick check over for any grammar and/or spelling mistakes:

Tanner recently spoke (again) with one of his favorite comedians, Chris Gethard, and hopes that you’ll listen to the conversation even though Isabella says it’s mostly just Tanner “fan-girling" which Tanner does not deny:

And finally, mom is still swimming and walking with her friends because sometimes even she needs a break from the kids, the dogs, the cats, the house, the car, the chores, the meals, the doctors, the appointments, and everything else in between. Here’s a picture of her celebrating her birthday with friends in the pool last week:

All in all, we'd say it's safe to say that Thanksgiving weekend was slightly different this year, but we still wanted you to hear everything we've been up to this weekend in honor of your birthday.

But we couldn't have done any of it without you, so thanks for being with us through it all!!!


Your Family


Editor's note: Even though the family has finished this letter and the weekend has come to an end, Sal has still not made good on his bet with Isabella so we expect him to pay her the $20 soon, but until then, here's a video of Isabella and Tanner trying to convince him to go into the freezing cold water while Mom adamantly tells him "NO!"

And before you ask, yes, we are seeking help for Sal's gambling problem.

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